Pro Football Hall of Fame Officially Announces Rescheduled Events Due to COVID-19
It is official: the first real week of NFL football during the 2020 season has been scrapped, instead being rescheduled until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the 2020 preseason opener between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers in this year's Hall of Fame Game would not be played this August, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame confirmed the news later on Thursday.
"As a public health precaution, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce are rescheduling all events associated with the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival," the Hall of Fame said in a statement. "Events tied to Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls now will take place Aug. 5-9, 2021."
“The health and safety of our Hall of Famers, fans and volunteers who make Enshrinement Week so special remains our top priority,” said David Baker, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “The Hall will honor the Centennial Class of 2020 next August, along with what promises to be an equally spectacular Class of 2021, as part of a multi-day celebration of football with an atmosphere that will deliver for fans ‘Twice the Fun in ’21.’”
The Cowboys and Steelers were also scheduled to be the first to arrive at training camp in order to complete camp by the August 6 date, though there has yet to be any information on how this has changed.
This will be the first event that the coronavirus has officially canceled for the NFL. The league was able to hold the 2020 NFL Draft, albeit virtually, as well as conduct free agency, but the question of a legitimate regular season during the current health crisis still looms.
Due to the Hall of Fame festivities being scheduled, all enshrinements will now take place in 2021 as opposed to 2020. Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli was among the 15 finalists to be one of such players set to be enshrined, but he missed out on the Hall of Fame vote for the fourth consecutive year.
“We believe postponing Enshrinement Week events in 2020 is the right way to honor our Enshrinees and their families properly, along with the other living Gold Jackets who want to come to Canton for this celebration,” Baker said. “We also believe next year promises to be the greatest gathering in football ever.”
With the NFL now officially canceling/rescheduling an event due to COVID-19, the next area of focus will be on training camp and the rest of the preseason. Perhaps the league could consider a shorter preseason and training camp to ensure the regular season takes place, but this would obviously hinder teams like the Jaguars who have a young roster, a first-year full-time starter at quarterback and a new offensive system/coordinator.